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Thread: Custom RGB USB LED Controller

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Custom RGB USB LED Controller

    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum, so this may not be the right place for this post, but hopefully somebody can help!

    I'm in the process of kitting out my case with 5 custom RGB LED 'zones', and would like to be able to control them via software, a little like the AlienFX stuff. Trouble is - I'm not an electrician. I can solder a board with bits if needs be, but wouldn't have the faintest idea where to start when it comes to components, etc. I've done some googling and came across the schematics for some boards which can do this - but, I can't print PCBs, so I'm a little shafted!

    Does anybody have any ideas where I could buy an off-the-shelve solution? Or would anybody be willing to knock up a kit for me via eBay perhaps?

    Any advice would be great!

  2. #2
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    If u have a schematic, then u have the lay out, you dont need a PCB. Use a proto board and use wires or proto traces to connect the parts.

    Example of a proto board with traces
    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...8nO%2ftkG06yKx

    what about finding one of the alienFX cases on ebay and havesting the lights?
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  3. #3
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    Ah, hadn't thought of using a prototype board, I guess it's a possibility - although the board would no doubt end up being quite large compared to its PCB equivalent?
    I've looked for some Alienware cases - and the only ones I can find have the passive Alien-FX module - i.e. not software controlled, and even these cases sell at extortionate prices!

    Thanks for your input anyway, it's appreciated - and I may look in to prototype boards.
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  4. #4
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    You definitely could build something yourself if you wanted to put in the time and effort, I have seen quite a few do it yourself instruction options on the web at instructables and also just on youtube and a few other places. You would definitely need to know a decent amount about electronics as well as writing software though.

    As pby5cat mentioned you could also try and pick up an AlienFX light board or case but they definitely are not cheap as you have found out as well as hard to find. The active board needed for software control can be especially hard to find and definitely not cheap.

    I did see another option on youtube recently called the Computer Color Cannon which is a RGB LED light that plugs into a USB port and can be controlled similar to AlienFX via software, there are also WinAmp and iTunes plugins for it too apparently. Below is the youtube video I came across of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmUVlY4u-yA

  5. #5
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    I had at one point in time planned an RGB for my rig. I eventually came up with and bought an Audrino with Shiftbrite bars paired with a RGB ribbon. There's open source software for color choosing, however I really didn't ever get around to installing it. You may want to look into it though!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerGuru114 View Post
    You definitely could build something yourself if you wanted to put in the time and effort, I have seen quite a few do it yourself instruction options on the web at instructables and also just on youtube and a few other places. You would definitely need to know a decent amount about electronics as well as writing software though.

    As pby5cat mentioned you could also try and pick up an AlienFX light board or case but they definitely are not cheap as you have found out as well as hard to find. The active board needed for software control can be especially hard to find and definitely not cheap.

    I did see another option on youtube recently called the Computer Color Cannon which is a RGB LED light that plugs into a USB port and can be controlled similar to AlienFX via software, there are also WinAmp and iTunes plugins for it too apparently. Below is the youtube video I came across of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmUVlY4u-yA
    Hi ComputerGuru,
    I'm more than willing to put in time and effort, but the hardware side of things really isn't my cup of tea - I will happily spend days/weeks on end developing the software side, but not being an Electrician, or, for that matter - not ever having any electronics training - I don't want to spend money on components only to short them went it comes to soldering them to a board.

    I have been keeping an eye out for AlienFX lighting modules, but no joy as of yet.

    I've taken a look at the Computer Colour Cannon, and it seems like quite a nice solution - the only problem being - I would need 3 or so of these modules, which not only would be VERY expensive (they retail at $175-ish I think) but I think there would be some addressing issues when it comes to the software side as the developer probably didn't intend to have multiple modules running at the same time from a single machine.

    Thanks for your time non-the-less.




    Quote Originally Posted by SovietKitsch View Post
    I had at one point in time planned an RGB for my rig. I eventually came up with and bought an Audrino with Shiftbrite bars paired with a RGB ribbon. There's open source software for color choosing, however I really didn't ever get around to installing it. You may want to look into it though!
    Hi SovietKitsch,

    Thanks for the heads up on Audrino - it lead me to a site called CoolComponents which seems to sell all sorts of USB experiment boards, so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find one cheap enough with enough analogue outputs to meet my needs.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    One word: arduino
    iirc it's controlable via usb and costs about 30$ you have to make your own software and wire the leds.
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